Does your family have a pie? A pizza pie, a cherry pie, a lemon meringue?
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day around the corner, the annual Peace though P.I.E. events are returning to churches and schools across Central Texas. Peace Through P.I.E. pie socials started 10 years ago, and the movement has grown to include well-attended events throughout the Austin area and even outside of Texas.
The idea is that by making a pie and sharing it with others, you can learn about others’ experiences, family histories and perspectives — even on things as simple as whether you need whipped cream or a piece of cheese on top of a slice of apple pie.
The P.I.E. part of the name stands for “peace includes everyone,” and inclusivity is one of several core principles. Each Peace Through P.I.E. host receives information on how to foster an enriching dialogue among attendees through sharing recipes and stories, asking questions and listening.
Travis High School kicks off this year’s pie socials with an event Jan. 12 at 1211 E. Oltorf St. Culinary students will be sharing pies from their home, family or heritage and share stories about their lives. This is the longest-running culinary student pie social in the country, and it is open to the public. They haven’t announced the time yet, but you can find updates at peacethroughpie.org.
From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 13, the 10th annual Sweet Home MLK Peace Through P.I.E. Social returns to the Sweet Home Missionary, a historic Baptist church at 1725 W. 11th St. Pease and Mathews Elementary students will perform, and so will local gospel stars Sam Rives & Poplar Favorites. You can bring a pie to share or a pie for the silent auction. Culinary students from Austin High School will serve the slices, and the auction will take place at 3 p.m. The event is free to attend; sign up for the auction or inquire for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At noon Jan. 14, St. James Episcopal Church at 1941 Webberville Road will host a pie social and pie auction benefiting the church’s youth group and community needs. The pie potluck is free and open to the public and will last until 1 p.m.
In Round Rock, Cedar Ridge High School will host its second annual pie potluck at 4:45 p.m. Jan. 18. Students will share pies and stories about their lives. This event is free and open to the public and will start sometime in the afternoon. Check peacethroughpie.org for updates.
Lamar Middle School will host its annual pie social from 6 to 7 p.m. Jan. 22 in the cafeteria of the school at 6201 Wynona Ave. Students and their families will share pies, and performing arts students will present songs, dance and poetry. The event is free and open to the public.
HOW TO BRING PEACE THROUGH P.I.E. ANYWHERE
If you can’t make one of the pie socials this year, you can bring Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of peace, unity and service into your home or small group through other ways. Peace Through P.I.E. founder Luanne Stovall and the organization’s director Leslie Mattison have developed a series of exercises and questions to help spark meaningful conversations that will lead to a deeper connection with those you love. You can share your pie and community photos by adding #PeacePIE to your photos on social media or tagging @peacethroughpie.
1. Pick a food to make that is connected to your home, family or heritage. Share that recipe and story.
2. Ask yourself and those around you, “What would you like to see more of in your community?” Then ask, “What skills and talents do you have to contribute to this community?” Find others to support and connect with to create this community.
3. Identify someone you care about. Think about how you show them you care. Use that memory to compare how you act when you greet new people. After you’ve completed that step, become conscious of your first impressions and biases.